Reviewing the Pages: Odd Thomas


“The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.” But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn.

Maybe he has a gift, maybe it’s a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd’s otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo’s sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it’s different.

A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world’s worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd’s deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15.

Today is August 14.

In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares, and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere.

From the very get-go, Odd Thomas explains that he is going to be an unreliable narrator, well, at least in terms of the writing that he is doing for the tale that he is publishing, but it still works here. Odd is…well, odd. An avenger of sorts; Odd inspires to be nothing more than your everyday common man, but his special gift tells him otherwise. I have to say that this tale gets you invested with Odd’s way of telling things, plus getting you rooting for him and Stormy. This is one of the very few tales that I would make me cry because I feel for Odd. Is that a bad thing?

For those who like a bit of a odd tale, with a bit of love, happiness, supernatural elements, and some Elvis within, then you should check it out. 

Within the first three pages, Odd already establishes himself as an unreliable narrator, and it certainly shows throughout the tale.  Odd throws a lot of humor at us, interspersed between the darkness that he is plunging himself into.  From the humorous introductions of the supporting cast, or his self-deprecation (one of the clearest moments of this is during his interaction with his father’s Girlfriend of the Moment).  However, there’s a darkness to Odd’s tale.  A family that doesn’t love him, and a fear of firearms that doesn’t get explained until the latter third of the book.  Though, while it seems like it goes away, part of me thinks that that fear got suppressed by Odd trying to save the people of the story.

Which is where the sadness comes in.  I’m glad that we didn’t get Odd seeing Stormy.  I can only imagine what sort of dark character turn it would have taken Odd down, and we don’t need that.  Reading chapters sixty-four through sixty-six, for a brief moment (even though I had read this before, and remembered the ending), I was rooting for Odd and Stormy to have their wonderful life together.  But, alas, it just isn’t meant to be.  And for Odd, there’s so much more for him…like six novels worth.  As stated above, those who like odd adventures should check this read out.  Maybe, just maybe, you’ll know why the dead don’t speak.


Reviewing the Pages: The Shadow Fabric


A dark fantasy novel of demons, devices, and deceit.
Leo remembers little of his past. Desperate for a new life, he snatches up the first job to come along. On his second day, he witnesses a murder, and the Shadow Fabric – a malevolent force that controls the darkness – takes the body and vanishes with it.
Determined to get answers, Leo has no idea where to turn. Revelations come in the most unlikely places, and secrets of witchcraft and ancient artefacts unfold. In particular, a device used in the 17th century to extract evil from witches proves key to his discoveries. With these truths long hidden from humankind, his memory unravels. Not only haunted by the past, a sinister presence within the darkness threatens Leo’s existence and he soon doubts everything and everyone…including himself.
The relentless and destructive power of the Shadow Fabric compels Leo to fight not only this growing darkness, but also the entity beneath the Fabric’s surface. While these supernatural horrors rage and his world crumbles, Leo must confront his past before he can embrace his future. But the future may not exist.
Bringing witchcraft and demon fiction into the 21st century
THE SHADOW FABRIC is a British horror novel revealing the unknown history of the witch, the paranormal, and demons. With a slice of occult horror and an insight into the true cause of the Great Fire of London, the story opens up history and spreads it raw.

The evil contained in this book is relentless. Seriously, just when you think that something good has happened, it snatches it away. With fury too. This read takes you through a journey through a somewhat-unreliable narrator, and the all-too-mysterious Shadow Fabric and the revolving world within. I’m pretty sure that there are mysteries that are still left unsolved, even with everything that get explained.

All the characters are distinct, and though each one of them have their own motivation (which may or may not be their own), it certainly is a fun thing to read such a varied cast of characters. There are some moments where I didn’t want to know about a thing for the 50th time, but that’s just because it had been repeated so many times that my brain went “enough already!”

For those of you who like supernatural horror, and want something to keep you on your toes, then you should check this one out.

Well, this one certainly kept me on my intellectual toes anyway.  Trying to figure out where all the information about the Fabric, or the Witchblade, or anything else in general was going to lead me kept my brain moving.  Which is a good thing.  I feel like I still don’t have all of the pieces of the puzzle, and with all the people that were handing out puzzle pieces now dead, I’m just as lost as Leo was for most of the book.

And this book makes sure that you stay lost.  And in despair too.  Just when you think that something good is finally happening to our characters, the rug gets pulled out from underneath us and we fall back down into that hole of despair again.  There are some things that concern me about the ending of the tale, primarily when it came down to the stitching.  Yes, he was holding a shadowleaf, but, how could the effect of the pure white leaf do any good when he was wearing a glove? Maybe he did take it off and I just missed that line.  I’m not sure.  Or maybe it’s just the fact that the white leaf was counteracting the effect of the black leaf? Maybe that’s it.  Either way, left me a bit puzzled.  Also, I don’t know if there is a sequel in the works, or it just continues on in short form, but the ending left me wanting much, much more.

Seriously, check this read out.  I promise, it’ll make you think more about light and the darkness it battles in a slightly different way.

Reviewing the Pages: The Undead Pool


Superheroes battle the living dead in this hilarious spoof on the comic book universe!

The Undead Pool is a humorous and demented origin story of former mercenary Mace Murdock, who after being subjected to an experiment from the evil clown Zarathustra that leaves him with accelerated healing powers and the hunger for human brains, adopts the alter ego The Undead Pool. Armed with his new abilities and a twisted sense of humor, he joins forces with superheroes Stable, Psychotic Menacing Schoolgirl and Tigernaut to battle Zarathustra and his zombie clown army. The comedy never ends in this science fiction and horror parody of every superhero and supervillain that comic book enthusiasts love and hate.

Well, I’m giving this more a 1.5 star rating. Let’s be honest, I didn’t like this book. I was expecting something a little…different. Not a rehash of “Deadpool” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. There’s just….not enough originality in here for me. And all of the pop-culture references. Sure, I enjoyed some of them. Especially the wrestling ones (I’m a wrestling fan after all). BUT, there’s just TOO FREAKING MANY to really get me to enjoy this read. It was far too…cluttered. Another thing that I had an issue with was with the spacing. It looked like the paragraphs were too far indented on my Kindle, and there were some weird gaps in the middle of a sentence. Now, I’m sure that there are going to be some people who would enjoy this read, but this wasn’t for me. But it very well may be just the right fit for you; if you enjoy gore-drenched parodies and the type of humor that a character like Deadpool (and subsequently, Undead Pool) provides.

There’s not much more that I want to add about this.  If you have seen both movies I listed above, then you know where the plot of this book goes.  Well, technically it’s two books.  Though, the first half does deviate quite a bit, going into some convoluted plot about killing Trump and putting his brain in a chimpanzee (then going back in time and Undead Pool eating Trump’s brain.  I’m not a Trump supporter, but seriously?).

The less I say about this read (and it’s tippie-toes), the better.

Top 10 Roundup #6

Hello everyone, welcome back to another edition of “Top 10 Roundup”! Are you ready for the second of the two-parter I have going here? I sure am.  Let’s dive right in.  It’s 10 of the TV shows that I need to catch up on.

For only diving into the show fairly recently, I managed to make it 10 seasons deep.  Problem is, I don’t remember where I was when I stopped watching the show.  That’s ok though.  I think it was somewhere in the middle.

I can totally blame Beth for getting me into this show, after years of begging, pleading and cajoling to watch it.  Did I still drag my heels on watching it? Sure.  Mostly just to play with her.  I stopped somewhere in the 4th season, and I really want to continue on.

One of several series on this list where I’ve never gotten out of the gate when it comes to being only a few episodes into the series.  But, I love “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, and the show so far has my interest.

Based off the book series of the same name by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, this innovative take on vampires got me hooked from the very beginning.  Even though it’s a book series I’ve never finished, and only got about halfway through the first season of the show, I’m looking forward to catching up on the series and getting to see the novels appear on the screen.

Started this series twice, and stopped in the same exact place.  Maybe this is a series that I need to watch alone.  I love the characters, who are based on penny dreadfuls that were popular in the era.  I love the episodes that I’ve watched, and can’t wait to progress on in the series.

I love this show! I got into it in late high school/early college, and it is probably the show with the most seasons on my shelf (I’m not counting the modern Doctor Who, where they divided up the new Series into two parts).  To be fair, I own ten seasons of the show, but have only made it into Season 8.

Another one-season start/stop, Gotham is the dark, gritty “origin” show that I can really sink my teeth into.  I love that each of the different seasons, while still keeping in the established world, have different titles for each season.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but not very many non-anthology series do that.

Now, I’ve only seen bits and pieces of the original, or classic, Doctor Who episodes.  And I really want to get into the series.  I want to be able to watch the history and explore all of the established mythos of the various Doctor Who villains.

Last one-seasons start, but considering there’s only…10 episodes of the entire series (which baffles me), I’m still very intrigued about the whole show.  Cumberbatch and Freeman make a very incredible pairing, and give both Sherlock and Dr. Watson a new depth in this modern take on the iconic detective.

It’s the second CSI show on this list.  (Finished CSI: New York, and not going to touch CSI: Cyber).  Now, I know that there are a lot of people who make fun of the show, mainly for Caruso’s delivery before the opening credits.  But, the show is enjoyable, and I want to continue on past the 5th season.

That’s all I’ve got for you for this edition folks! Next week, we’re gonna dive into something different, and something that I want to get into to make myself much more rounded as a nerd.  Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been, obediently yours.